Budget Cuts hit state ag programs

Budget problems have become the norm across most states in the Midwest.  Those cuts have hit state agriculture programs. As a result, there has been some decline in support for overseas promotion of agriculture products.   

In recent years direct state spending for ag programs has declined, states have used federal funding and user fees to fill the gaps. Now with more federal cuts, states efforts at promoting foreign trade are in danger.  Doug Farquhar follows such matters for the National Conference of State Legislatures.

“There was and still is a strong ‘market access program’, meaning how to promote your state’s goods overseas  and in foreign markets. And  how to build up some of those foreign markets, but those have been cut back fairly significantly,” says Farquhar.

Farquhar says small producers are hurt the most when there is a cutback on foreign promotion.  He singles out Nebraska for strong trade promotion. Nebraska recently opened a trade office in China. And in Illinois where the promotion budget has held steady, the governor and state ag director are on a trade mission to Mexico this week